Judge orders Turner to serve three years in prison

Chuck TurnerChuck TurnerChuck Turner, the former Boston city councillor who was convicted last year of accepting a bribe as part of a federal anti-corruption sting, was sentenced on Tuesday afternoon to three years in prison.

Turner, 70, said he would appeal the sentence, which also includes three years of supervised release, and the jury's unanimous verdict in October that he accepted the $1,000 bribe and lied to federal agents about it. One of his attorneys, John Pavlos, has agreed to take the case pro bono, Turner said.

His attorneys are asking for a stay of his sentencing so they can continue their legal battles. He must report to jail in two months.

But the federal judge who sentenced him, Douglas Woodlock, said the evidence was clear that he took the money, and that Turner's testimony where he claimed not to remember the bribe's occurence was "ludicrous."

"He took the money and kept it," Woodlock said.

And the judge agreed with prosecutors, saying that Turner had perjured himself when he took the stand during his October trial and said he did not recall the payoff.

"Anybody would remember it," Woodlock said, describing Turner's testimony as "designed to pollute the process of the court."

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, addressing reporters after the sentencing, said prosecutors were satisfied with the judge's decision, which fell between the 33 to 41 months they were seeking for Turner.

The claims of Turner and his supporters that the corruption charges brought against him were based on race are "simply untrue and outrageous," Ortiz said, as Turner supporters heckled her and attempted to interrupt her impromptu press conference outside the Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

Ortiz said she was personally offended by Turner comparing himself to the struggles of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. "Mr. Turner is no Rosa Parks," she said.

In his own press conference after the sentencing, Turner continued to maintain his innocence, calling the sentence a "miscarriage of justice" and adding that he will continue to his civil lawsuit against the city of Boston, which he filed a month after the City Council voted 11-1 to remove him from office.

"I told the truth," he said of his testimony during the trial. "I have nothing to have remorse about."

In a statement, City Council President Stephen Murphy called the sentencing a "sad end to a sad ordeal."

"I’ve known Chuck for a many, many years – not only as a colleague but as a person," Murphy said. "What we must do now – the Boston City Council and the city as a whole – is to move forward from this point. It’s time to focus on the business of the City."

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